Fit for Life

PHOTOS: Park it for fitness with these outdoor exercises

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By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

Parks are great places for outdoor workouts. It’s common to see people using trails for walking or jogging but outdoor workouts can go beyond this. A flat ground is all that’s needed for a variety of exercises such as air squats and jumping jacks. Then items commonly found at parks such as benches and trees can also be used for exercise.

Laura Washington, a certified personal trainer, demonstrates several outdoor exercises that can be moved outdoors to a park. To intensify any of the workouts, increase repetitions as well as add leg and hand weights to the movements.

To receive more fitness tips and nutrition tips from Washington, visit her “SLAY Fitness and Health” Facebook page at bit.ly/2s5GGEf.

TREE PLANK

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A tree plank is a standardized plank but includes placing the bottom of your feet on the base of a tree. A plank is exactly what it sounds like and the body should be as straight as possible. The front of the body can be supported on the hands or with the elbows and forearms on the ground. Stay in the plank position for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat three times.

STANDARD PUSH-UP WITH BENCH

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Start off in a plank position using the bench for support. Legs should be straight with toes on the ground while the hands are flat on the bench. Legs can be close together but the hands should be directly underneath the shoulders to provide maximum support and to prevent injury. Then bring the elbows back to lower the body. Do 12 to 15 reps for three rounds.

DRIVING INCLINE PUSH-UP

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Start off in a plank position using the bench for support. Legs should be straight with toes on the ground. Hands should be flat on the bench. While in the “up” position, press the knee of one leg up towards the chest then as you bend your arms down, you kick your leg out and straight back while squeezing the hip muscles. Do 12 to 15 reps on each leg for three rounds.

LEG LIFT WITH TREE SUPPORT

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Instead of using an indoor wall for leg lift exercises, people can go outside and use a tree to support the back. Stand up straight and tall with your back against the tree, lift one leg to waist level so it’s in a high knee position and then while it’s still at waist level, press the leg straight out ahead. Do 12 to 15 reps of this on each leg for three rounds.

STANDARD TRICEP DIP WITH BENCH

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The body starts off in a reverse plank position with heels on the ground and arms straight back with the hands holding on to a bench for support. Then bend the arms to dip down at the waist while keeping both legs stationary. Press back up in the original position using the arms. Do 12 to 15 reps for three rounds.

TRICEP DIP WITH HIGH KNEE

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The body starts off in a reverse plank position with heels on the ground and arms straight back with the hands holding on to a bench for support. Then bend the arms to dip down while bringing the knee up at the same time. Press pack up in the original position using the arms and dropping the leg down. Do five to eight reps on each leg for three rounds.

LATERAL STEP-UP

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Instead of using an indoor exercise step machine, take it outdoors and use a park bench or set of steps. Step up laterally which means turn sideways instead of having the front of the body face the bench or stairs. Step up on the bench and make sure the body is straight at the top before stepping back down. Do 12 to 15 reps on each leg for three rounds.

REVERSE LUNGE ON BENCH

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A reverse stationary lunge is a little easier on the knees and using the bench provides added support. Place the hands at the hips or straight above the head then start in a lunge position. One leg will be in front and parallel to the ground with the knee positioned directly over the ankle. The opposite leg will be bent at a 90-degree level with the toe on the bench for support. Then press up to straighten up the front leg on the ground. Do 12 to 15 reps on each leg for three rounds.

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